BioMar ties up loose ends in Chile with factory buy-out

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages
© GettyImages

Related tags Chile Salmon tilapia trout starter feed

Danish fish feed maker, BioMar, has acquired the 50% remaining shares in the Chilean factory, APSA, ending what is said was over 10 years of successful collaboration with salmon, trout and tilapia producer, AquaChile, in the operation of that facility.

When BioMar acquired Provimi Aqua in 2007, the APSA factory joint venture was part of the deal. Since then BioMar Chile has been producing feed to AquaChile and to various other customers through that JV.

AquaChile was bought by Agrosuper last year. BioMar said the new owners have facilitated a friendly and smooth negotiation to get this deal done. The acquisition is subject to approval from regulatory bodies. 

BioMar said this facility investment, to the tune of US$17m, will give it greater manufacturing flexibility, enabling it to better supply the broader customer base and upgrade the factory.

In terms of current output of the APSA factory, BioMar CEO, Carlos Diaz, currently in Chile, told us it has 120,000 tons installed capacity but with potential to at least double that production with another line. “The plant is designed for that. It is a state of the art [factory] with modern technology, which could allow us to plan future expansions easily when the market demands it.”

“It is mainly producing grower feed products [right now], with a particular emphasis on the production of high performing energy dense feeds.”

The in-built flexibility in the design of the plant, however, would allow BioMar to eventually produce almost all of its range of products there, he said.

Chilean market

In terms of both the challenges and the prospects in the Chilean market, the CEO said BioMar sees more opportunities than threats.

“Chilean farmers are performing better day by day, increasing harvesting weight, decreasing mortalities, and, in general, [operating with] better management and sanitary conditions.

“We see much more sustainable if, maybe, more moderate [growth] because of regulations, in this market, which allows for greater predictability.”

Salmon from Chile is proving very popular in many countries right now, and that trend can be sustained through ongoing marketing campaigns, and more cost-efficient production, said Diaz.

“The future [of the Chilean salmon market] looks promising.”

The industry, evidently, needs to continue to be aware of environmental impact of production and to ensure high quality sanitary conditions, he added.

There is a huge consolidation trend underway in the Chilean salmon sector. Last summer saw AquChile, before it was acquired by Agrosuper, purchase Salmones Magallanes, while Agrosuper’s salmon farming unit, Los Fiordos bought Friosur. Agrosuper’s takeover of AquaChile created the second largest salmon farming entity in the world, after Norway’s Marine Harvest.

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